Kan. Governor vetoes abortion bill

WASHINGTON (BP)--Kansas Gov. Kathleen Sebelius has vetoed a bill that would have strengthened restrictions on second- and third-term abortions in a state that the measure's sponsor called "the late-term abortion capital of America."

The bill's supporters are working to gain the two-thirds majority needed to override the April 21 veto. The Senate, however, fell short of that goal in passing the legislation by a 25-13 vote. The House of Representatives achieved the super-majority in an 84-40 vote for passage.

The Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act includes a provision that would permit a woman or family members to bring legal action against a doctor who they believe has performed or is prepared to perform an illegal late-term abortion. It also mandates an abortion provider give a woman an opportunity to view an ultrasound image of her child before the procedure, requires the posting of a notice that a woman has a right not to be coerced into an abortion and clarifies the state's parental involvement law.

The Democratic governor said she vetoed the Comprehensive Abortion Reform Act because she was concerned it is "likely unconstitutional or even worse, endangers the lives of women."

Pro-lifers rejected her explanation. Mary Kay Culp, executive director of Kansans for Life, said, "The truth is that she vetoed this reasonable abortion bill because she is unreasonably indebted to the Kansas abortion industry."

Rep. Lance Kinzer, the bill's Republican sponsor, called the veto a "tragedy for women who will continue to be exploited by an industry that places profit above respect for human life."

Kansas has become a primary destination for women seeking abortions late in pregnancy largely because of George Tiller, the country's best-known late-term abortion doctor. Tiller's Wichita clinic, Women's Health Care Services, advertises on its website it has "more experience in late abortion services over 24 weeks than anyone else currently practicing in the Western Hemisphere, Europe and Australia."

Compiled by Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.

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